One of the many health benefits regarding the outdoors is improved mental health and well-being…
I recently caught up with Lucy Carter of ‘From Lucy With Love’. (Unfortunately, we had to use technology to communicate as now living in Cornwall, she’s a little too far away for a day visit… much to my disappointment!)
Lucy and I share a passion for nature and the outdoors, and having married in Cornwall myself last year, I didn’t need to ask why she’s recently chosen to move there!
Originally from Camberley, Lucy lived in Berkshire and Wiltshire before moving with husband Joe in February, fulfilling their dream of living with the sea in view. Joe and Lucy shared a desire to live in Cornwall from the off, and Joe proposed at Marazion Beach before they eloped (something we also have in common) two years ago, getting wed in an Arts and Crafts house near St Just.
I asked Lucy what had given them the final courage to make the move and she told me that although she deeply loved her job working in a school, after seven years she felt that it was time for a change. With the dream of her own business in mind she knew that she’d like to launch it from their dream location and so the pair set about looking for a home online. When they found a gorgeous cottage, everything fell into place very quickly for them and before long they could smell the sea from their doorstep.
“From the very first time I visited Cornwall I felt that I had been here before; it felt like my spiritual home… It was like I was being pulled back year after year”
Before I go on to tell you about Lucy’s exciting upcoming venture, I want to talk about her mental health. It’s not a taboo subject! In fact she is incredibly passionate about raising awareness, and actively encourages those in need to reach out for help…it’s not something to be ashamed of!
Lucy developed mental health issues herself at the age of 14. Putting plans of a conventional education path on hold, she had a successful career in the health and fitness industry before returning to study. She completed an Access to Art and Design Course followed by a Fine Art Degree, graduating from the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham, in 2009.
Although she takes daily medication to help keep things at bay, and her ‘down days will always be down days’, she has found that now living in more natural surroundings has greatly improved things for her.
“The difference now is that if and when a bad day comes along I can step out into a garden full of birds, breathe in the fresh sea air or go for a walk and watch the waves. I have always been someone who has needed nature and it certainly helps my mood.”
During her time at university, she began to document some of her work online. Putting herself out to the world helped her to build confidence in herself and before long the blog as it is today took shape. Adding YouTube videos in 2014, she now uses both mediums to document her life with Joe and Gizmo (their cat), her work, and the daily battles with anxiety and depression.
Nature now plays a dominant role in daily life for both her and Joe. Her desk sits by the window with the sea in sight, and she opts to spend all of her lunchtimes outside. Evenings are spent in the garden watching Gizmo run up the palm trees, whilst listening to the nearby waves crash on the beach, and clear nights are spent stargazing (subscribe to her YouTube and Joe might treat with you to a space fact or two!).
Their days off are spent walking, or visiting nearby National Trust properties and Lucy has plans to learn to paddle board once her business is established.
It’s safe to say that Lucy is making the most out of the nature around her. She told me that she feels at peace when out walking along the coast, and her darker days have been brightened by Cornish life.
Over the last two years, Lucy has been working with life coach, Gemma Sands (www.gemmasands.co.uk). Gemma helped Lucy to identify her goals and find her self-belief, which gave her the determination to begin the journey of fulfilling her business dream.
Using her creative talents and passion for stationary and watercolour, Leaf Lane Studio, Lucy’s upcoming wedding stationary and paper product business, will officially launch in the Summer. Being a romantic, Lucy wants couples opening a parcel from Leaf Lane Studio to have a sensory experience, a keep-sake creating a lasting memory.
“I want them to feel butterflies in their stomach as they untie the silk ribbon that encloses the order, and take in all the details of their stationery and feel like they want everyone to see it but, at the same time, can’t quite bring themselves to send it out because they don’t want to disturb it from its package.”
Everything is hand designed and painted by Lucy, before being professionally printed to a high standard (whilst being ever so kind to the planet too), giving couples and their guests beautiful memories of their day. Lucy aims to develop the business further, adding greetings cards, art prints and other stationary treats in time. The biggest influence in her work is the nature surrounding her, and she uses the countryside, wildflowers and the ever-changing colours of the coast to create stunning backdrops to her lettering work.
The Leaf Lane Studio website is currently a work in progress, but you can head over and pop your email address in to receive up to date news on the progress. She’ll be adding sample packs of her stationary ranges to the site in the Summer, and you can watch the beginnings of the business unfold on the Leaf Lane Studio Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages.
I asked Lucy where she’d like to be in 5 years time, and whilst most people starting a new business would be likely to say that they’d like to be successful, Lucy explained that she’d like to be in a position where she could perhaps focus on other product lines with their aim to raise awareness for mental health charities. I think that statement alone goes to show the kind of person that Lucy is!
When a content provider chooses to put online their daily life for the world to read, hear or see, it’s easy to forget that you don’t really know them. Many share the downs as well as the ups, but you are watching (or reading) a snippet of what is happening in their world. It can be easy to assume that you know a person when they share their life via the internet. If you yourself are suffering with mental health, reach out to your GP who can provide help and support.
How has nature helped you?